‘Call me, Bitter.’

That was what Naomi said when she lost her husband and two sons. She said, ‘Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter’ (Ruth 1:20). And in her deep grief, she tried to drive away those she loved.

God’s exiled people experienced the same in nature. They came to a spring, but ‘they could not drink its water because it was bitter’ (Exodus 15:23). They backed away from it and rejected it, because bitterness has a way of driving others away.

But God stepped into both situations. God gave Naomi a grandson through the very person she tried to reject. He cured the water for his exiled people, the very water they refused to drink. And God will do the same for us. Let’s not drive others away in our great sadness and bitterness of heart, for it is often through these people that we find God’s hope.

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